Love Is In The Air

Chapter Three

Riley and I went about stocking the fridge and pantry cupboard and making sure the bedrooms were freshened up and the whole house dusted, and bathrooms stocked with the essentials. Our families, those invited, were expected on two different incoming flights the Thursday before the Saturday evening event. We were lucky as far as the officiating of our vows was concerned. While shopping at our neighborhood market (Fausto's) a few weeks ago, the owner of the market, a former mayor and current city councilman, stepped out from his counter to congratulate us on our engagement and while talking to him he volunteered to perform our ceremony for us and we accepted. His property actually abutted ours in the back and we had known each other since Monty introduced us some time ago. The garden of the library was booked, and we hired a caterer to provide chairs at the garden, and a light buffet and drinks at our place after the ceremony, set for 6 PM that Saturday.

We met the first flight at 1 PM that Thursday. This was the flight carrying my older sister, Beth, and her husband Ben and their two boys, the twins, Max and Bill, eleven years old. Riley's parents were arriving an hour later on a flight from Ft. Lauderdale. We had hired two cars for our guests to use and Riley and I had both driven one to the airport for the pick ups. We decided since the arrivals were so close together we would wait for Riley and his family to follow us to the lane, thus making the meetings on neutral territory, not that we anticipated any problems.

My sister looked radiant as she came down the rolling steps of the plane and my two nephews behind her looked excited as they pointed out things on the tarmac to each other, and behind them came one of my favorite people in the world, my brother in law Ben, Ben had been a high school athlete for a big city school, but had taken his college courses in business management and finance, becoming the owner of a large commercial cleaning company shortly after college graduation when his dad died. Ben and Beth's marriage was one of the first celebrated mixed-race weddings in my hometown, and nobody, not even the bigots, had a bad word to say about Ben, for not only was he a genuinely nice guy, he was as big as a house. Six feet 3 inches tall and built like a brick shit house.

He had been accepted into our family since day one and my parents had doted on him. When the twins came along Beth hardly held them for the first six months, everyone wanted to hold the boys and they were still the objects of everyone's affections. They were without a doubt the most handsome 11-year-olds anyone had ever seen. Of course, that was my opinion. I performed the introductions as soon as they entered the small terminal to await their luggage. I was so pleased to see how every one of my relatives took to Riley and soon my sister had him off to the side and they were laughing, probably about me. The boys were off looking at the tourist brochures that gave ideas to visitors about what to do for a lot of money here in Key West. Ben stood with his arm around my shoulders and hugged me to his side, telling me that I had certainly picked a nice-looking guy to hook up with and I watched Riley and Beth getting to know each other and my heart soared as I told Ben that I certainly had and that I was so glad I had waited for my true love to appear. The boys came over, loaded with brochures asking me what they should do first. We talked with their father and selected several they could do while they were here in town.

By then their luggage had come around the one carousel and had been snagged by Ben and the boys and we had it all collected and waiting over by Riley and Beth as we heard the flight from Ft. Lauderdale announced. Riley and I walked over to the window to look out at the passengers as they deplaned, and Riley got nervous, as nervous as he was the night I proposed.

We watched as about 10 people walked down the staircase to the ground and then I saw them, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer, standing at the top of the portable staircase, looking quite displeased as they surveyed the tarmac, obviously realizing for the first time that they actually had to walk down the stairs and walk across the landing pad into the building. The looks on their faces said it all, they were not pleased. Riley groaned and said under his breath that he was sorry, but it looked like his parents hadn't left their snooty personas back in Denver like he had hoped. Once exposed fully to the hot humid air of the island the couple, at the urging of the stewardess, went down the stairs and a member of the ground crew led them to the doors of the terminal, which thankfully opened automatically, which was at least something they could relate to, they didn't have to do it themselves. Riley went to greet them as soon as they entered and after a brief cheek kiss from his mother and a restrained handshake with his father, he turned to me to present me to these paragons of Denver society.

They tried to be cordial to me for Riley's sake, but I could tell it was tough for them, and I, in turn, introduced them to the representatives of my family, Beth, and Ben and the twins, Bill and Max. We went to the carousel to retrieve their luggage and sure enough, Riley and I were stuck with them, his father never lifting a hand to help. We all walked across the street to the parking lot and Riley took charge of his parents and I took my family to the car assigned to them and once loaded we each drove our own families to the house we had rented on our lane. I really had no qualms about the rented house; it really was beautiful and had even been featured in a posh home magazine a year ago.

Everyone thought it was beautiful until the Spencers learned they would be sharing the house. Riley had just about had it by then, and I still hadn't learned what had been said in the car on their way over here, but I tried to diffuse the situation and asked him to take my relatives down the lane and show them our house, while I got to know his parents a little better. He wanted to be away from his folks, so he was eager to do as I suggested and took Beth and Ben and the boys down the lane to show them where we lived. I took Mr. and Mrs. Spencer out to the patio behind the house we were spending a thousand dollars a night on.

I turned to Mrs. Spencer and told her that iced tea would go down a treat about now and that her son had bought her the brand she liked and stocked the fridge with some, that her husband and I wouldn't decide the fate of the world until she returned. The look on her face was priceless and I heard Mr. Spencer chuckle a bit behind me, but when I turned around and he saw the look on my face he shut up and sat down silently, to await his wife's return. Three times he began to start saying something, and when he caught my glare he shut up each time.

She returned with the three glasses and sat next to her husband and this must have given him the courage to speak. "I know about people like you and how you take advantage of young men and milk them for all their money, well mister, what's your price, what will it cost us to get you out of our son's life and drop this marriage crap?" It gave me a laugh, I'll tell you. This jumped up stock and bond pusher trying to pay me to get out of his son's life? I leaned over the table and asked him what his net worth was, not really expecting him to answer a "gold digger" with an honest answer, so I answered for him, telling him I had him investigated, and that he had $125,000.00 in the bank, some stocks, and bonds worth about $67,000.00, a fifteen year mortgage left on a four hundred thousand dollar house, whose payments were now at $3,000.00 a month.

"Whereas I own outright the five hundred thousand dollar house just down the lane, I can afford to rent this house for a thousand dollars a night to put our guests up, I have approximately four and a half million in the bank and an investment portfolio worth five million as of 11 AM this morning. I own a quarter interest in a guesthouse down the street and that ¼ interest is worth another 3 million and I am totally in love with your son, who is in love with me. I just don't understand how he could even care about such superficial and unreal people. You think that because you can afford to live like you do that that makes you special? I wonder just how little you'd take from me to stay out of that wonderful man's life forever, would it take as little as a house payment? I think you two have a lot to think about, because if you break that man's heart, I'll ruin you, and I can afford to do it. I suggest you go up and pick out the bedroom farthest from the others and have a good long talk and make sure your decision is to make your son happy. Attend the wedding, mingle with the guests, who will be mostly people wealthier than you, and don't let me see those upturned noses like I did at the airport, remember, by the time you could fly home, your lives would be in ruins, do we understand each other?"

I got up from the table and started to walk through the house to the lane when I turned around and said to them, "Once your attitudes get adjusted we'll be leaving for dinner at a local restaurant and the dress code for the evening will be casual with warm smiles for everyone. We'll pick you up at 7 PM sharp".

I got to our cottage and a much different world. The boys were cavorting in the pool in their underwear and three adults were drinking iced tea at the table in the screen room, laughing and carrying on like they had known each other for years instead of just three hours. I poured myself a glass of the beverage of the day and joined them, telling Riley his parents were tired from their trip, but they would be ready at 7 when we stopped to pick them up for dinner.

We had a great time for the rest of the afternoon and Riley even got into a swimsuit and joined the boys in the pool. Beth leaned into me and said she would have fallen for him too if she had met him fifteen years earlier. She and Ben were huddled together on the bench across from me and I had to warn them about what had transpired at the rental house, just in case Riley's parents didn't have a decent bone in their bodies and they had either skipped out on the wedding or were a bit standoffish when they returned to the rental.

They took the news in stride but asked if they could leave the twins with us, until just before dinner, if things were not cool at the rental they would call me on my cell, but if everything was cool the boys could go down with us, they could change quickly, and we'd all go out for dinner.

The change in Riley's parents was almost complete by the time we all walked down there about 6:30 to give Beth and Ben and their boys a chance to freshen up before dinner. Riley and I sat at the outside table and chatted while my family got ready and Mr. and Mrs. Spencer came out, dressed in Key West casual, and much more effusive in their greetings to us. Mr. Spencer leaned in to me as we shook hands and thanked me, telling me they had both needed that wakeup call and they were going to work on being better people and parents from here on out.

It wasn't a hardship to walk down to Mallory Square from where we lived and we did want our guests to experience one of our sunsets from where the Gulf of Mexico met the Florida Straits, so we strolled to the pier and watched the sunset and let everyone enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere.

Once everyone had a chance to see the sunset we strolled over to the Old Town Mexican Cafe about six blocks from where we had watched the sunset activities. This gave them all a lot to see along the way, the shops, the people, the unusual combinations of architecture, and it gave everyone a chance to work up an appetite. I had made the reservations for 8:15 and we were just in time. Instead of the open-air seating with a view to the passing strollers on Duval Street, I had opted for the enclosed back room where our guests could relax and eat in air-conditioned comfort. The menu is quite varied, and Riley and I had fun helping everyone choose what they wanted to eat.

Gail came out from the kitchen to greet us and we introduced her to our families and we told her we hoped to see her at our wedding on Saturday, and she told us she wouldn't miss it for the world, in fact she was working with the caterer for the light buffet they were preparing for after at the reception at our house after the ceremony at the large garden next door.

The meals were all received with enthusiasm and were eaten with the same camaraderie that had been shown the whole evening, with people swapping bites of their dishes all around the table. It was a really nice time spent with our families. We had more fun walking home and Riley proudly showed where I had proposed to him and everyone had to sit on the special bench and have their pictures taken there.

The next day we had planned an excursion for our group and using the two rental cars we drove them out to the Botanical Gardens and showed them the plants from the gardens at the houses in their natural surroundings. It really is a neat place to visit, but the next place was selected just for the boys, but we knew the women would also appreciate it; we took them to the Key West Butterfly Conservatory. It has an enormous glass-roofed room set up like a mini Botanical Garden, complete with a stream and a footbridge over it, quail running around, and, of course, hundreds of varieties of butterflies flying loose. No one really wanted to leave, and we had to check each other for hitchhikers as we left through the exit portals.

Saturday, we had a group breakfast, but then everyone was on their own until the exchange of vows, timed for when the library would be closed. I wanted the staff to attend, as well as their significant others, and we also wanted as much staff from the guest house as possible to be able to attend.  Riley had invited some teachers from the school, as well as his friend, the principal. The caterers showed up about 3 to begin their preparations and Riley and I were by that time busy in the library's garden, making sure the volunteers were not overdoing it with the decorations. We left to show the caterers into the house and garden and around 5 we each went to a separate bathroom in our cottage to begin getting ourselves ready for our big event.

With our family and work friends, and other friends from town we ended up with just over a hundred attendees. I hope they all had a good time, because I only had eyes and ears for Riley, and I did recognize the fact that his gaze never left mine. Rob and Leo were acting as our best men and during the ring exchange Rob leaned into me and said he could tell I had a hard on during the whole ceremony and the former mayor/grocery store owner kept chuckling to himself almost the whole service, which he conducted beautifully.

The light dinner afterward was well received, and Max and Bill stayed close to us as we table-hopped and visited with our guests as did my sister and her husband, and the Spencers, who really did seem to be enjoying themselves. It really was a great party and shortly after dinner the manager of the guest house came up to us and handed us an envelope, and soon there were several dozen envelopes in our hands, each one from the same charity we had asked donations be made to instead of presents, The Friends of the Monroe County Library, Key West Branch. Inside the envelopes were the receipts for their donations which we later determined amounted to over five thousand dollars, which we had already agreed to match, if for no other reason than we felt it prudent to donate to the library for the use of the garden for our ceremony.

Just before we left for our wedding night at the guesthouse, the Spencers approached us and handed us an envelope of another sort. In the envelope were a deed and a letter from both of Riley's parents. They apologized in the letter, telling us how sorry they were about the attitude they had come here with and explaining that the deed enclosed was for a property they had been holding onto for several years, one that they had acquired when they bought out a previous partner in their business. They had never seen the property but wanted us to have a safe place to escape to for the hurricane season, which ran from June to the end of October. Of course, now that Riley was doing something he loved, teaching, they knew he wouldn't leave for the entire storm season, but at least for the worst of it they would know that we both would be safe and out of harm's way. We both looked at the deed, now showing both of our names on it, and we soon realized it was for a farm, not far from my family in Western Massachusetts, in the small town of Granby.

Beth and Ben seemed pleased we'd be somewhat close to them as they had reservations about us spending time in the tropics during bad weather and said they'd check the property out for us after they returned home. They too had news, all my brothers and sisters were now using the same accountants, and all seemed to have handled their inheritances from my mother's estate well and were standing on their own feet as it were.

That was a surprise to start off our wedding night with, the other was that the staff at the guesthouse had renovated Monty's old suite and it was now a gorgeous wedding night retreat for newlyweds, we were the first couple to make use of it we were told. We let all our senses rejoice in each other as we explored each other's bodies in the most tactile ways possible until in a lust filled frenzy I finished wetting my spouse's ass and inserted my dripping hardon to try and repeatedly flick his prostate with the flange of my dick's head. I'm pretty sure I was successful at this as his moans and grunts as well as those quivering contractions of his rectum attested to. Once I had successfully put out that fire in his butt with the copious flow from my rigid hose we cuddled until I felt him harden again, probably because I was sucking on his right nipple as I stroked that big uncut cock of his with the residue of my cum leaking from his ass hole. This time it was Riley's turn to try and put out my fire and I willingly, if not eagerly, presented my quivering opening to him and he made a valiant effort to douse my fire within and when I tried to help by stroking his slapping ball sack he finally let loose and I felt like I was on the receiving end of an erotic enema, literally, and that was only round one.

By 2:30 AM we were asleep and we didn't make it down to the dining room for breakfast, but once we were up and about the staff went out of their way serving us a great breakfast. As we walked back to our home we talked about the change in his parents and he said that he wished I had met them years ago and slapped them down when their egos first got so inflated. I told him that I loved him with all my heart, but it might take me a while to really warm up to his folks. He laughed and told me that every day he had worked at their brokerage firm he had to put up with them both all day, and at home too, it would take him some time to get to know his new parents, but he thought I had done a wonderful job with them.

We didn't see any activity at the rental house and so when we got home we decided they must all be out doing things because both rental cars were gone. What we did do was go on one of the computers in the office and we googled the address of his parent's gift to see what the property looked like. We were stunned; the house had to have at least several bedrooms and several garage spaces. Riley looked the property up on his laptop as I continued to tour the property on Google Map and was amazed that there was even a stable, a pond, a terrace behind the house with a swimming pool, paddocks, and pasture land.

The house itself was a colonial with wings built on each side, presumably as the original owner's family grew, as was the fashion in the day. Riley came to me with a printout and confirmed the house was big, with 8 bedrooms and 6 full baths, 4 shower baths, and two powder rooms. There was garage parking for 10 vehicles and stables for 10 horses. Riley's printout and the deed listed 80 acres to the property that had once been the property of a famous singer until her death about 15 years ago. It had been left to the man who wanted to become partners with the Spencers and they had taken the property as his "buy-in" amount for his third of the partnership. The Spencers had installed a couple as caretakers and what they really were was a couple who lived rent-free in the separate guest house in exchange for maintenance on the property and renting out the fields and pastures to cover the taxes and utilities used on the property.

The contact information for the couple was in the letter they had enclosed and Riley and I called them about 4 PM to discuss arrangements and let them know the property was now in our hands. The call went well and once we explained that the Spencers had passed on the property to their adult son they actually seemed pleased. We explained we'd like the same arrangements they'd had with the Spencers and we would be up there to see the property in person and to possibly spend a few weeks to a month or longer there starting in June, depending on our schedule. We exchanged contact information and I told them my sister and her husband might call and come by sometime in the next week or so, as they only lived down the road from them about a mile or so.

By 6 PM the family started showing up, with food. Apparently, they had spent the day together, taking a catamaran cruise around the island and then a trip out to the Dry Tortugas National Park. They had stopped on their way back from the docks to pick up a deli dinner at the grocery store down the street. Mark joined us and once he had been fed he dragged me off to the office to talk over what he was proposing for my Summer meet and greets, the second volume of my stories based on Monty's tales was due out by the end of May.

Mark proposed a full month of interviews and bookstore signings like last time, but I asked him to break it up into two trips, two weeks in length, in different months. He thought that would be doable and then he thanked us for inviting him to our wedding, he was really enjoying himself at the guesthouse and had met one of the other guests there and they had been spending quite a bit of time together. He actually blushed as he told Riley and me that. We shooed him off after hearing that, so he could go spend more time with his new friend.

Riley still had about two months left of school and I had been trying to finish another book-length story so we both had something to occupy our time during the day, but usually the nights were ours to do with as we pleased, and although we each had something to do right after dinner, Riley correcting test papers and me myself working over the statements from my financial advisers or finishing a paragraph or chapter, we always stopped what we were doing to snuggle together and watch the evening news or go outside to play in the pool before bedtime. I was really going to love this married life, and Riley let me know in so many ways that he liked it too.

Two weeks before school let out for the summer Riley came home in a more than distracted state. I sat him down at the patio table and got him to explain what he was so agitated about. He told me that during his third period class one of his students, usually a very outgoing but attentive student, had sat himself away from the others and was basically asleep sitting up, not paying attention at all and when Riley had walked around to watch as the other students in the class worked on the few problems he had up on the front board, he noticed that Carter, the student who was having a bad day, had what looked like a rash on the back of his neck, but on a closer look Riley could see that it was actually fingerprints, as if someone with large fingers had tried to strangle the 12-year-old.

Not that sure about the mandated reporting of abuse policy of the school district, he met with his friend, Clair, the principal between classes. She explained the policy; suspected abuse was to be reported, period. She then asked who the student was and Riley told her and she nodded her head, saying that last year another teacher had reported signs of abuse on Carter but the authorities hadn't been able to make a case against Carter's father, a single parent.

Riley asked Clair to go and see for herself the bruising on Carter's neck and suggested that she might take a photo of the marks with her cell phone as Riley himself made the call to the police department. Riley didn't fool around, he talked directly to the Chief of Police, someone we had both met a few times around town, and he explained the situation as he saw it to the Chief, who asked Riley to hold for a moment, and after getting Carter's last name Riley sat on hold for only a few moments and then returned and told Riley that the father was currently under arrest. He had been arrested at his work, a local big lumber and hardware store. He had shown up for work seemingly intoxicated and belligerent and had been arrested for numerous offenses, including driving while under the influence, disorderly conduct, and for assault with bodily harm, as he had punched his supervisor at the lumber yard and broken the man's nose. The Chief was sending an investigator and would bring Karen Evans from the Florida Children's Protective Services Department over himself, as she was in the building he was in right now.

Riley told me that the day just got worse as it went on. Carter was intimidated by all the adults trying to question him about the abuse he had apparently suffered at the hands of his father and eventually Clair had called him in to sit with Carter as he had said that Riley was an adult he trusted. Eventually, Riley and Ms. Evans were left alone in the room with the investigator sitting outside the open door taking notes. The boy had opened up to his teacher (Riley) and was soon sobbing into Riley's chest as he told his story, about the threats, beatings, and verbal abuse that culminated in his father almost strangling him into unconsciousness last night because Carter had dropped a beer his father had sent him into the kitchen for.

Riley said he just felt so helpless as he held the sobbing boy; he had wanted to take him home and give him a better life. I asked if that was something he wanted to do really, to take in a child in need, to help them on a better path, to give them a safe and secure home to come to, because as he knew, that was something I advocated for in each of my books and stories. That we had discussed this before our marriage, about someday having a family of our own, yet neither one of us was getting pregnant, so the only way we could create this future family was by fostering or adoption, and I had been doing some research online for the stories and found out that all we had to do was take a few classes in parenting and get approved by the state government as a foster home. There was counseling available for both the foster parents and the children if needed. I reminded him we had agreed to do this at some point, but that maybe the time was now.

I showed him the course site on the internet and he and I used our own computers to register and begin the first module before we even stopped for dinner, and we each went back to the program after we had cleaned up after ourselves.  Riley called Ms. Evans the next morning before his first class had even started and they had a chat about the next steps and when she found out he was married to me she said that she wouldn't have any problems placing Carter with us as soon as we could finish our course and providing our home passed inspection by her department. She told Riley that she had met me several times at the library and at functions held there and that I had always seemed like a nice, caring, man and she was happy we had found each other.

That night Riley finished his course and I fixed dinner, as I had finished my final exam that afternoon and had passed with flying colors. I think it was easy for me, being the third oldest of eight siblings in our family and Riley passed that night with only trouble on two questions but he had actually answered them correctly, he only needed clarification as to where they were coming from with the question asked. He emailed Karen Evans that night and gave her the codes to access our tests on her office computer and she, in turn, called the house about 3 PM and she and another caseworker came out and did the home inspection. She explained to me that Carter was doing well, but was seriously looking forward to getting in a real home and getting settled in so he could return to school, as they had kept him out for the last couple of days to help him adjust to a life without his abusive father.

I asked what the next step would be and she asked how we would feel about Carter making a home visit with us over the weekend. Since it was a Thursday and the visit would run from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening I told her I thought Riley and I would be thrilled to have his company for the weekend, but I also let her in on my not so secret, that I was now a bestselling author and  we(Riley and I) would be making some trips this Summer, one to the West coast, one to the Washington DC. area, and possibly a month in New England, Granby Mass. Actually to look over a property we had received for a wedding present from Riley's folks.

She chuckled and told me that as long as she had our entire travel itinerary beforehand and she had time to get us written permission to take Carter out of state, we were good; in fact, her adopted mother ran the Mass. Department of Children and Family Services in Western Mass. And she would be glad to have us visit up there in her old hometown and have her mother check in with us.

After Riley got home from school on Friday we drove to Karen's office and I got to meet Carter for the first time and Riley got to see him for the first time since Tuesday when the whole business started. Carter rushed to Riley and hugged him, thanking him for getting him away from his father, and for letting him come to our house for the weekend. Riley hugged him back and then introduced me to Carter and he shook my hand and thanked me for having him over for the weekend, but he kept staring at me and then he just spat out, "You're that guy on the book aren't you?" Riley laughed and told Carter that he was right; I was the author, the guy on that book that Carter had borrowed from the school library to read for an English class assignment.

He was a cute guy, Carter was, and Riley thought he was a smart little bugger as did I after about a hundred very insightful questions had been asked by him on our way home after signing him out for the weekend. He thought it must be heaven we took him to as he made note that the library was next door.

I love to hear from my readers and what they think of my stories Art West